Category Archive 'Class Warfare'
16 Jul 2020

Britain: Tempest Over a Coffee Mug

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Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak was photographed working, with a $179.95 Coffee Mug on his desk.

Class warfare is popular in Britain, and the current Tory Chancellor inadvertently afforded Labourites a chance to mau-mau him by letting the Press catch sight of an expensive high-tech self-heating coffee mug (the Ember travel mug) sitting on his desk.

The Guardian:

[[T]he current chancellor, Rishi Sunak, appears to have gone one step further in the traditional pre-budget photo opportunity by posing with a “smart mug” costing £180.

A series of snaps released by the Treasury show Sunak at work, with the expensive gadget on his desk as he pores over the details of the mini-budget he will deliver to the Commons on Wednesday.

The Ember travel mug, reportedly a gift from his wife, Akshata Murthy, the daughter of a billionaire businessman, retails for up to £179.95 online, with a product description boasting that it “does more than simply keep your coffee hot”.

It adds: “Our smart mug allows you to set an exact drinking temperature and keeps it there for up to three hours, so your coffee is never too hot, or too cold.” The 355ml mug is apparently dishwasher safe and even includes a charging coaster.

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Rupert Hawksley, in the Spectator:

Rishi Sunak found himself in hot water last week, though fortunately it was not too hot. Just the right temperature, in fact. The Chancellor was photographed at his desk with a £180 ‘smart mug’, which keeps his drink somewhere between 50°C and 62.5°C for up to three hours on the move or indefinitely if placed on its charging coaster. Very sensible, you might think; but some thought the picture was revealing. Labour MP Beth Winter was quick to point out that her mug, turquoise and shaped like a dinosaur, had cost just £3. ‘No wonder,’ Winter tweeted, ‘he said no when I asked him this week about a wealth tax.’

It being Britain, they probably drink their horrible tea with milk out of it.

15 May 2020

Peggy Noonan on the Class Aspect of Lockdown

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Peggy Noonan, this week, is remembering her working class roots again.

I’m afraid, however, when push comes to shove, Peggy is always going to side with the Community of Fashion over ordinary America.

There is a class divide between those who are hard-line on lockdowns and those who are pushing back. We see the professionals on one side—those James Burnham called the managerial elite, and Michael Lind, in “The New Class War,” calls “the overclass”—and regular people on the other. The overclass are highly educated and exert outsize influence as managers and leaders of important institutions—hospitals, companies, statehouses. The normal people aren’t connected through professional or social lines to power structures, and they have regular jobs—service worker, small-business owner.

Since the pandemic began, the overclass has been in charge—scientists, doctors, political figures, consultants—calling the shots for the average people. But personally they have less skin in the game. The National Institutes of Health scientist won’t lose his livelihood over what’s happened. Neither will the midday anchor.

I’ve called this divide the protected versus the unprotected. There is an aspect of it that is not much discussed but bears on current arguments. How you have experienced life has a lot to do with how you experience the pandemic and its strictures. I think it’s fair to say citizens of red states have been pushing back harder than those of blue states.

It’s not that those in red states don’t think there’s a pandemic. They’ve heard all about it! They realize it will continue, they know they may get sick themselves. But they also figure this way: Hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy taken down, which would mean millions of other casualties, economic ones. Or, hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy is damaged but still stands, in which case there will be fewer economic casualties—fewer bankruptcies and foreclosures, fewer unemployed and ruined.

They’ll take the latter. It’s a loss either way but one loss is worse than the other. They know the politicians and scientists can’t really weigh all this on a scale with any precision because life is a messy thing that doesn’t want to be quantified.

Here’s a generalization based on a lifetime of experience and observation. The working-class people who are pushing back have had harder lives than those now determining their fate. They haven’t had familial or economic ease. No one sent them to Yale. They often come from considerable family dysfunction. This has left them tougher or harder, you choose the word.

They’re more fatalistic about life because life has taught them to be fatalistic. And they look at these scientists and reporters making their warnings about how tough it’s going to be if we lift shutdowns and they don’t think, “Oh what informed, caring observers.” They think, “You have no idea what tough is. You don’t know what painful is.” And if you don’t know, why should you have so much say?

The overclass says, “Wait three months before we’re safe.” They reply, “There’s no such thing as safe.”

Something else is true about those pushing back. They live life closer to the ground …

RTWT

24 Mar 2020

Which Class Is Really Indispensable?

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Victor Davis Hanson notes that times of crisis tend to make one wonder about where exactly the merit in the American Meritocracy resides.

In a sophisticated society under lockdown, is it more existentially valuable to know how to fix a toilet, replace a circuit breaker, or change a tire, or to be a New York fashion designer, a Hollywood actor, or a corporate merger lawyer? At 9 p.m., when you go downtown in need of a critical prescription, are you really all that furious that a law-abiding citizen who has a gun and concealed permit is also in line—or would you be more relieved that gun control laws might ensure that his ilk never enters an all-night pharmacy?

So who is important and who not?

We were often told globalized elites on the coast were the deserved 21st-century winners, while the suckers and rubes in-between had better learn coding or head to the fracking fields.

But who now is more important than the trucker who drives 12-hours straight to deliver toilet paper to Costco? Or the mid-level manager of Target who calibrates supply and demand and is on the phone all day juggling deliveries before his store opens? Or the checker at the local supermarket who knows that the hundreds of customers inches away from her pose risks of infection, and yet she ensures that people walk out with food in their carts? The farmworker who is on the tractor all night to ensure that millions of carrots and lettuce don’t rot? The muddy frackers in West Texas who make it possible that natural gas reaches the home of the quarantined broker in Houston? The ER nurse on her fifth coronavirus of the day who matter-of-factly saves lives?

Do we really need to ask such questions of whether the presence of the czar for diversity and inclusion at Yale is missed as much as the often-caricatured cop on patrol at 2 a.m. in New Haven?

Do social justice student protestors who surround and heckle the politically suspicious now in ones and twos also scream in the faces of the incorrect plumber who unclogs their locked-down apartment drain?

The virus has reminded us again, but in an unorthodox fashion, that the world is bifurcated by the degreed versus the non-college educated, rural versus urban, sophisticates in opposition to supposed rubes—and the dichotomy has been telling. I don’t suppose Rick Wilson will go on CNN again to do his fake-Okie accent to ridicule the supposed unwashed, who deliver his food and energy, as viewers might wonder what exactly was his expertise.

Will multibillionaire Mike Bloomberg really convince anyone that a farmer operates by simplistic rote, and someone like himself is critical to America—one who censored the politically incorrect reporting of his own journalists while he schemed to find ways to capitalize Chinese Communist-owned companies with western currencies—at huge multi-billion-dollar profits to himself?

When your refrigerator goes out under quarantine and your supplies begin to rot, do you really need another rant from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)—or do you rather need a St. Michael Smith and St. Uriel Mendoza to appear out of nowhere as the archangels from Home Depot to wheel up and connect a new one?

RTWT

09 Feb 2019

California: No Place for Families or People Who Are Not Rich

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The most popular Longreads article this week is an obituary for the California Dream.

In an essay at Curbed San Francisco, Diana Helmuth explores why so many young people have left California. It’s not normal, she writes, considering a dozen loved ones have moved away in the past two years.

    We are witnessing two migrations. One is the continuation of the Californian dream, where young people flock here for gold and glory, ready to hustle and disrupt, hammering to hit the motherlode and laughing at the odds. The other is the migration of young people out of California, which seems to have affected everyone I know, but which I rarely hear examined. These people want to be artists, teachers, blacksmiths, therapists, mechanics, and musicians. They want to have children, open bakeries, own a house. But they can’t. There is no room here for those kinds of dreams anymore.

Eleanor, the twelfth person in Helmuth’s life that’s decided to leave, had moved back in with her parents a few years ago, to her little hometown of Stinson Beach. North of San Francisco, it had gradually become a getaway destination of Airbnbs for rich tourists and well-off city residents alike.

    “Imagine working at Disneyland, then going home to your place in the back of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride while drunk frat grads puke into the water,” she told me.

To be clear, she loved her town and its bearing in the coastal California fantasy. She wanted to share it, brag about it, celebrate it. But selling bourgeoise yogurt crocks and $100 bottles of wine to people who didn’t see her as part of their shabby-chic fantasy was becoming difficult to bear.

06 Feb 2019

Angry Bourbons at the SOTU Address

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Watching the State of the Union, Kevin D. Williamson saw America’s dispossessed Ruling Class, conscious of its ownership of the Permanent Mandate of Heaven, looking on, and seething in frustration, as an interloper, representing all the people and classes of society they detest, stood there in the place they know properly belongs to them.

President Donald Trump represents a genuine crisis in the American political order, but it is not the crisis we hear about from rage-addled Democratic hyper-partisans and their media cheerleaders. The fundamental cause of our current convulsion — studiously ignored by almost all concerned — is this: In the United States, the ruling class does not rule. At least, it does not rule right now.

Consider the context.

The ladies and gentlemen of Goldman Sachs liked Mrs. Clinton a great deal in 2016, and their generous donations to her presidential campaign outnumbered their donations to Donald Trump’s campaign by an incredible 70-to-1 margin. Mrs. Clinton was in fact the largest single recipient of Goldman Sachs–affiliated donations that year, whereas Trump’s presidential campaign was way down the list behind not only Mrs. Clinton’s campaign but also the legislative campaigns of such Democrat powers as Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Tim Kaine of Virginia, and newcomer Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. The results were similar for many other financial firms: 19-to-1 at JPMorgan, 7-to-1 at Wells Fargo, 27-to-1 at Citigroup, 10-to-1 at Bank of New York, etc. Across the commercial banking industry nationwide, Mrs. Clinton out-raised Trump by a nearly 7-to-1 margin. She beat him 17-to-1 among venture capitalists, 8-to-1 among hedge funds, and 7-to-1 among private-equity firms.

Among people associated with Harvard, Mrs. Clinton’s donations outperformed Trump’s by an an even more incredible 200 to 1. In fact, no Republican even cracked the top 15 at Harvard, and Marco Rubio, at No. 17, didn’t even crack the six-digit mark — and the first of his five digits is a 1. At Princeton, it was Clinton 209-to-1. It was 128-to-1 at Yale.

Mrs. Clinton enjoyed a 100-to-1 margin of support among people associated with Facebook; 76-to-1 among Google employees; 135-to-1 at Apple. Mrs. Clinton beat Trump by only a 4-to-1 margin at Exxon Mobil and 3-to-1 at Walmart.

Presumably, the votes of these donors were distributed in roughly the same way, along with their general sympathies and allegiances.

But money is not the only currency in politics.

Mrs. Clinton also enjoyed the endorsements of the former chairman and CEO of General Motors, the executive chairman of Delta, the former president of Boeing, the chairman and CEO of Salesforce, the founder and chairman of Costco, the CEO of Airbnb, the CEO of Netflix, the founder of DISH, the CEO emeritus of Qualcomm, the former CEO of Avon, the CEO of Tumblr, the former chairman and CEO of Time Warner, the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs, and many others. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich had planned to hold a Trump fund-raiser in his home and was bullied by his peers into canceling the event.

Among the nation’s 100 largest newspapers in 2016, only two — the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Florida Times-Union — endorsed Donald Trump. Most endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and those included the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. USA Today, which does not typically endorse candidates, did not endorse Mrs. Clinton but ran a “not-Trump” anti-endorsement, and other newspapers did so, too — more of them, in fact, than endorsed Trump.

Mrs. Clinton won the majority of the vote in almost every state capital — 47 of them. Trump won Carson City, Bismarck, and Pierre, the micro-capitals, respectively, in Nevada, North Dakota, and South Dakota, with fewer residents combined among them than Chattanooga, Tenn. Mrs. Clinton won an average of 76 percent of the vote in the ten largest U.S. cities. Trump won a majority in none of them, nor was he close to a majority in any of them.

All Donald Trump won was a majority of the voters in a substantial majority of the states — 30 states plus the second congressional district in Maine.

To Democrats, this is an obvious injustice and an outrage. Theirs is the politics of manifest destiny, with their endless Hegelian insistence that capital-H History is on their side. And not only History but Harvard and Goldman Sachs and Facebook, too. Their sense of entitlement to political power is just a smidgen short of Divine Right, but not much. The obstacle to fulfilling their entitlement is the structure and the constitutional order of the United States, which is neither a direct democracy such as Switzerland’s nor a unitary state such as China’s but a union of states. Hence the aspects of the American system that most reflect this arrangement — the Electoral College, the Senate, and the Bill of Rights — are regarded by the Left as illegitimate, a way to rig the system against History and The People. …

There are many possible ways for the ruling class to respond to that political reality. One is to burrow into the cheap moralism characteristic of our times and insist that those who looked at the choices in 2016 and came to a different conclusion than did the executives of JPMorgan and Citigroup must be driven by some occult malevolence; this is Paul Krugman’s argument, that “good people can’t be good Republicans.” That is a sentiment unworthy of even so trifling and vicious a creature of the New York Times editorial page as Professor Krugman, who once was a highly regarded economist. Equally unworthy is the related sentiment: “Our candidate got 2 percent more of the vote than their guy did in 2016, so it’s only technicalities keeping us out of power. Once we have rectified that, we will simply dominate the other side with our superior numbers.” Never mind that those are only slightly superior numbers and that this advantage is not as fixed as the stars but like all things in the affairs of men subject to change. Is the domination of one group of citizens with their own way of life and their own values by another group of citizens with a different way of life and different values the best outcome? Is that what liberty is for?

As the polling consistently demonstrates, this division is not about policy. It is about hatred.

RTWT

03 Nov 2018

Spoiled College-Educated Fashionistas Driving Democrat Party Left

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Daniel Bonthius, actor and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supporter.

Politico finds a watershed moment for the Democrat Party in New York’s widely-reported defeat of long-term incumbent congressman Joe Crowley by 28-year-old bartender Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Young, affluent, miseducated Dummer Junger representatives of the community of fashion are out-voting the older working class and minority democratic party constituencies and driving the party way farther to the Left.

Daniel Bonthius was never much interested in politics before Donald Trump came along. Both his parents are involved in the labor movement, but he earned a musical theater degree in Boston and moved to New York City to make it as an actor. Like many of the city’s aspiring actors, Bonthius, 33, was waiting tables and working for an event planner—and had been doing it for most of a decade when Donald Trump obliterated the political system in 2016.

After the election, a shocked Bonthius invited friends over to his home in Sunnyside, Queens, a one-time Irish enclave that has seen an influx of new residents. “I just wanted to talk out what happened with people who felt the same way I did,” he says. That gathering eventually morphed into an Indivisible group, a grass-roots left-wing answer to the Tea Party, and in early 2017 it hosted a new candidate for Congress the first time she met with an organized group of voters: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“It just seemed like she is a real person running for office,” says Bonthius, who ended up volunteering for her campaign and now works for her. “Everybody in the room, we are all the same generation, the same generation she is, and there is just this comfort level, like, you are one of us. You are going to be fighting for us.”

Indivisible was mostly dedicated to flipping Republican seats to Democrats, or at least nudging moderate Democrats to the left. Bonthius’ district, however, was already represented by a liberal Democrat, Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent who served as the powerful head of the Queens Democratic Party and who was thought by many to be a potential speaker of the House. Crowley, whose family has deep roots in Queens, owns a home in Woodside, another Irish enclave next to Sunnyside that has likewise undergone rapid gentrification over the past several years. But by the time 2016 came along, Crowley was spending most of his time in Washington, or flying around the country to stump for Democratic candidates.

“I think most voters were pretty happy with him. There wasn’t a specific vote or issue where we could get up in our representative’s face or have a sit-in in his office,” Bonthius says. “We figured she didn’t have a chance, but that it would at least push Crowley to the left.”

A year later, Ocasio-Cortez pulled off one of the most shocking upsets in a generation, sending Crowley packing by a 15-point margin. The results were widely portrayed as a victory for a new and empowered Democratic grass-roots constituency.

New York’s 14th Congressional District is more than 70 percent people of color, and 50 percent Hispanic. Ocasio-Cortez, who was born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican mother, fit the district’s changing demographics, and neatly fit a larger narrative of a national Democratic Party in which increasing progressivism and diversity go hand and hand.

But a closer examination of the data tells a different story. Ocasio-Cortez’s best precincts were places like the neighborhood where Bonthius and his friends live: highly educated, whiter and richer than the district as a whole. In those neighborhoods, Ocasio-Cortez clobbered Crowley by 70 percent or more. Crowley’s best precincts, meanwhile, were the working-class African-American enclave of LeFrak City, where he got more than 60 percent of the vote, and portions of heavily Hispanic Corona. He pulled some of his best numbers in Ocasio-Cortez’s heavily Latino and African-American neighborhood of Parkchester, in the Bronx—beating her by more than 25 points on her home turf.

Earlier this year, in a New York district with a growing non-white population, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a then-28-year-old bartender and former Bernie Sanders organizer, dethroned Rep. Joseph Crowley, the fourth highest-ranking Democrat in the House, by running up huge numbers in white, gentrifying neighborhoods. Crowley might have been the head of the Queens Democratic Party, but his foot soldiers didn’t turn out the votes to match Ocasio-Cortez’s of-the-moment progressive energy. …

Ocasio-Cortez, the young Latina who proudly identifies as a democratic socialist, hadn’t been all but vaulted into Congress by the party’s diversity, or a blue-collar base looking to even the playing field. She won because she had galvanized the college-educated gentrifiers who are displacing those people. “It was the Bernie Bros,” one top Crowley adviser said as he surveyed the wreckage the day after the election. “They killed us.”

RTWT

HT: David Wagner.

15 Jun 2018

New York Democrat Candidate Running as Class Warrior, Complete With $9000 Rolex

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The Washington Examiner admired the inadvertent irony.

He couldn’t wear a regular wristwatch. It had to be a Rolex. That’s just a little awkward for Brian Flynn.

The top Democrat running in New York’s 19th Congressional District took out a full page ad in the Albany Times Union slamming the “billionaires” and the “corporations” who “have rigged the system against us.” It is a pretty typical political ad. He looks stern with his arms crossed and his sleeves rolled up on his blue dress shirt — literally a blue collar! And then, there’s the $8,950 timepiece on his wrist.

Connoisseurs looking at his social media will recognize the watch as the Rolex GMT Master-II. The choice of fighter pilots and frat boys with large trust funds, it makes a statement but not the kind a progressive politician might want to make. …

First introduced in 1955 for international aviators, the Rolex GMT Master-II can tell the time in three time zones simultaneously. And so, it was fitting that when English and French test pilots climbed aboard the Concord, they were wearing the Rolex GMT Master-II. To this day, the brochure advertises the watch as “supersonic luxury.”

Flynn looks like the kind of guy who can appreciate the finer qualities of the Rolex GMT Master-II. Before entering politics as a candidate, he worked as an executive at Citibank, and later, he went on to become president of a large medical manufacturing company.

No one should begrudge him his wealth, of course. No one can question his taste either (as we’ve established, the Rolex GMT Master-II is exquisite). The Rolex GMT Master-II definitely fits that aesthetic of Flynn the businessman. Unfortunately, it clashes with the style of Flynn the progressive warrior.

RTWT

HT: Glenn Reynolds.

06 Feb 2018

“I Detest Trump, But a ‘Redneck’ Fixed My Prius with Zip Ties”

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Ruth Mayer knows that she is a superior person for holding progressive political opinions and despising Trump, then one of those deplorable Trump supporters comes along and helps her out!

After the march, Katherine and I hit the road in the late afternoon, feeling good; we had done our part to express our outrage. We were about 90 minutes south of D.C. when I heard a terrible popping sound. I assumed I had blown a tire and headed toward the nearest exit. The popping was followed by screeching — were we now driving on metal? Luckily, there was a gas station right off the exit.

Before I could do anything but park my gray Prius, a man rushed over. “I heard you coming down that road,” he said. Before I could say much he started surveying the situation. He didn’t so much offer to help us as get right to work.

It turned out that I hadn’t blown a tire; a huge piece of plastic under the front bumper had come loose, causing the screeching as it scraped along the road. After determining that he couldn’t cut the plastic off, he ran over to his car to grab some zip ties so that he could secure the piece back in place.

He did all of this so quickly that I didn’t have time to grab the prominent RESIST sticker on the side of my car, which suddenly felt needlessly alienating. As this man lay on the ground under my car with his miracle zip ties, I asked if he thought they would hold for four more hours of driving.

“Just ask any redneck like me what you can do with zip ties — well, zip ties and duct tape. You can solve almost any car problem. You’ll get home safe,” he said, turning to his teenage son standing nearby. “You can say that again,” his son agreed.

The whole interaction lasted 10 minutes, tops. Katherine and I made it home safely.

Our encounter changed the day for me. While I tried to dive back into my liberal podcast, my mind kept being pulled back to the gas station. I couldn’t stop thinking about the man who called himself a “redneck” who came to our rescue. I sized him up as a Trump voter, just as he likely drew inferences from my Prius and RESIST sticker. But for a moment, we were just two people and the exchange was kindness (his) and gratitude (mine).

As I drove home, I felt the full extent to which Trump has actually diminished my own desire to be kind. He is keeping me so outraged that I hold ill will toward others on a daily basis. Trump is not just ruining our nation, he is ruining me. By the end of the drive, I felt heartbroken.

When my husband and I first moved to Charlotte eight years ago, I liked to tell people that our neighborhood represented the best impulses of America. In our little two-block craftsman-home development, we had people of every political persuasion from liberal to moderate Republican to tea party, and we all got along. We held porch parties in the summer and a progressive dinner at Christmas. We put being a cohesive neighborhood above politics.

But this year, I realize, I retreated from my porch. Trump’s cruelty and mendacity demand outrage and the most vigorous resistance a nation can muster. Yet the experience with the man at the side of the road felt humbling. It reminded me that we are all just people trying to get home safe. It felt like a sign, that maybe if we treat one another with the kindness and gratitude that is so absent from our president and his policies, putting our most loving selves forward, this moment can transform into something more bearable? I want to come away from the march with that simple lesson, but it begs this question: How do we hold onto the fire fueling our resistance to the cruelty Trump unleashes, but also embrace the world with love? I wish I knew.

RTWT

Years ago, one day I had driven over to Bethel,CT from my Newtown home to do some shopping. I stopped for lunch at the Burger King, and when I’d finished eating and returned to my sexy and sophisticated TVR 2500 British sports car, it wouldn’t start.

I opened the hood and stood there confounded, and along came an older plumber out of a pickup truck. “You just need to see if you’re getting a spark and getting gas,” he explained. He first took a wire off a spark plug and held it near the engine. A spark jump the gap.

“Ok, there is spark,” he said. Then he opened the distributor, and examined the rotor and the points. “Aha!, dirty.” was his observation. He then produced a book of matches and used the striker to clear the contacts. He reassembled the distributor. I turned the key, and it fired right up.

I went to Yale and studied Renaissance Art, the Philosophy of Hegel, and Solar Mechanics. I was generally in the habit of looking upon myself as a few orders of superiority removed from the local working class rednecks, but there was factual, undeniable truth that the old fellow in the jeans could do a better job of logically thinking through the operations of the internal combustion engine than I could.

I puzzled about how all this could be so, and realized that I was better than him at all the highfalutin’ intellectual stuff probably largely because I was seriously interested in that kind of thing and worked at studying it to the point of acquiring the kind of familiarity and self confidence that produces competence. Just as he would be intimidated by a book of academic philosophy and experience a kind of intellectual paralysis preventing him from engaging it, so, too, in my own case, my lack of personal experience and long-term intense interest in automobile mechanics left me standing stupefied, despite my actually really possessing enough information to do all the things he had done.

It became apparent to me that the grand yawning class differences in brains were a lot more superficial than I had been in the habit of thinking. I drove away shaking my head ruefully at my past hubris.

28 Jan 2018

America: A Country With Good People and a Really Bad Elite

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Patricia McCarthy reflects on the ironies of Class in America in a time when the elites are deluded and corrupt and the Common Man is proving himself superior.

Somewhere over the last few days a wise person wrote that “if only the rich and powerful could grasp the notion that the rest of the citizenry does not envy them,” does not wish to live in their mansions, to drive their cars, or to send their children to the prestigious private schools to which they send their children. If our wealthy elites could get over their superiority complex and accept that most of us do not envy them, they might be better citizens, more respectful of the rest of us, better leaders. Illustrious schools may give those children of the rich and powerful a leg up but they do not guarantee happiness, kindness to others, or generosity of spirit. Their inherited wealth does not guarantee they will be good spouses or parents. It is more likely that the children of the very rich often lack the character of their ancestors who actually worked very hard to make the money on which they live so well today.

Those children of the very wealthy who are sent off to expensive boarding schools, to the Ivy Leagues, do not necessarily lead happy lives. Much is expected of such inheritors of wealth and privilege; they must be as successful as their elders, productive in the name of the family. They must belong to the right clubs, dine at the right restaurants, shop at the right couture shops, hire the right caterers, see the right plays, etc. … Their kids must be accepted to the right pre-school, let alone the right private elementary and high school. Their kids are pawns in an ugly, cutthroat game of parental bragging rights. …

The comical aspect of our current political spectrum is that the not-rich progressive leftists are extremely envious of the very rich. They are angry that they exist. They resent their good fortune. These were the Bernie Sanders supporters; Bernie did a good job of filling them with rage against the undeserving rich, socialist that he is. Obama’s and Hillary’s supporters were the virtue-signaling left, often rich themselves but generally ignorant of history and the actual policies of the right, the ones that aim to engender self-reliance and smaller government, the policies that would truly empower minorities rather than make them dependent. Those folks are all about big government, entitlements, mandates, and control of the masses that they disdain.

Most Americans could not care less about the shallow pursuits of the one percent. They want to live their lives, raise their kids to be good citizens, enjoy their sports, their faiths, their hobbies, and varied pursuits and to be left alone by the government. They do not want the state or federal government to mandate that their kids need to know about homosexuality and transgenderism in kindergarten or that males can use the girls’ bathroom if he/she feels like it. This is not the stuff of the American heartland which is why those Americans are so hated by the elite denizens of the beltway and the left coast. Those oh-so-elegant folks wallow in their misery at having to abide “normals.” But it is the normals who corner the market on common sense, real diversity and actual grace. There is nothing of grace among the anti-Constitution leftists.

These people, our supposed betters who wield power and are able to influence how the rest of us live, very truly believe they are superior beings. Only they have the correct opinions. Only they go the right schools, read the correct publications and websites. One only has to read James Damore’s complaint against Google to see how narcissistically arrogant the tech left has become. Read Melinda Byerley’s tweets that express her contempt for Americans unlike herself. Listen to Hillary’s speech about Trump supporters as deplorables. That is what they believe.

The left these days is vicious and intolerant. Leftists no longer even pretend to condone diverse or opposing opinions. They are demonstrating bad behavior all over the nation with their silly marches. Conservatives were horrified at what Obama did to this country over his eight years but we did not act out like banshees in the streets. Our left has surpassed Saul Alinsky’s tactics in their campaign to destroy those whom they oppose. That would be anyone with a differing thought. Consider the campaigns to prevent conservative speakers from appearing at any university and the offer of counseling if one is allowed to speak.

The American left today is fascist. They intend to dictate to every citizen what they can say, do or think. And they are indoctrinating our young people, our elementary through university students, with their radical intolerance. College students no longer learn about the horrors of communism and fascism, both products of the far left. No, they are being trained to be mind-numbed, doctrinaire leftists. They learn to renounce their country, our Constitution, to abhor themselves if white, to see themselves as a victim and so superior if black, Hispanic, etc. To be a minority in America is to be privileged in one sense. Unless one is Asian! Asians are not victims because they value education and succeed in record numbers. They are discriminated against for being successful.

Victimhood is a status symbol on American campuses. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of NY wants to give all illegals free college tuition! While native-born students are condemned to usurious student loans or no college? Why is the entire country not sick to death of the left’s prioritizing illegal immigrants over our citizens? It is so obviously all about votes. If these immigrants were going to be voting Republican, the border would have been sealed up long ago. Make no mistake, this is all about importing Democrat voters. The less educated, the more dependent on U.S. government, the better. They will vote democrat.

RTWT

19 Jul 2017

Lunching With Liberals

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Charlie Martin is the latest in line to poke some fun at David Brooks’ identification of Italian cold cuts as a signifier of grand social superiority.

[T]hree bits of media: David Brooks’ famous sandwich story, this story about a village in Nunavut (the First Nations province in Canada) that buys great quantities of stuff from Amazon, and an episode of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods in which he drives up the Pacific Coast Highway to sample the local delicacies of coastal mid-state California.

Brooks first. I imagine you all have already been exposed to this column, in which he argues that the lower economic classes are being held down because they don’t learn the “cultural signifiers” that mark the upper educated classes. Here’s the core paragraph:

    Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

Presumably, she was more comfortable with tamales and enchiladas and menudo than sandwiches named “tomato” and “godfather.”

In Zimmern’s show, he went to sea with a fisherman and then had dinner with the fisherman’s family (which had been fishing professionally for generations), then went into the tidal zone with a Hmong couple who showed him where you could forage for mussels and whelks and limpets and make a meal of them, then went to an Elks Lodge where bartenders pour heavy and the Elks get together and cook big chunks of top sirloin on a spit. Zimmern was just ever so impressed with these folks living the American Dream, out there working and bringing in fish and raising cattle. And amazingly enough, not one of them had a bone through their nose.
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Then we look at the village in Nunavut, where the story was that the whole village loved Amazon Prime, because they could order food and furniture and tools and supplies and get them with second-day delivery. The prices were far better — and the selection even more so — than the stores in the villages. The money quote to my eye was one person who said that Amazon Prime had done more for their quality of life than years of government programs. The bulk of the story, however, was that they were afraid Canada Post was going to not want to continue to deliver to their village because they were using so much shipping, along with people from the government saying that Amazon Prime wasn’t good because some people didn’t have credit cards, or were on assistance and so couldn’t buy things from Amazon.

The point is that for all Brooks’ talk about “social signifiers” and how the different signifiers were preventing the less-educated classes from moving up, when his female friend was confronted with this menu, he didn’t say: “Look, ‘Pomodoro’ and ‘Padrino’ are just names they gave the sandwiches, soppressata and capicollo are kinds of salami, and the other one is a kind of bread.” Instead of “insensitively” explaining things to her and giving her a chance to try something new, he “sensitively” took her to a Mexican place, and so preserved her from needing to learn all those “social signifiers.”

I used to frequent a steel mill bar in my old home town in Pueblo, where there would be a bunch of guys eating capicollo and soppressata sandwiches and drinking michelada (a Bloody Mary with beer instead of vodka). All those guys were wearing jeans with slag burns and had heavy work gloves and hard hats; not one of them had a crease in their pants leg. David may think that’s “gourmet” and exotic — but to people with real jobs, that’s just lunch.

Which is exactly the problem. In all of these stories, the underlying assumption is that they are the civilized people, and they’re out on the reservation where the unenlightened are living.

22 Apr 2017

A Populist-Nationalist Revolt is Coming in France, Too

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Christopher Caldwell, in City Journal, discusses the untranslated three-book oeuvre of French commentator Christophe Guilluy, a specialist observer of French demographics, real estate, and economic developments, who describes the development, in France, of a similar practical separation and conflict of interests between the prosperous urban community of fashion elite and La France périphérique, the Gallic equivalent of Fly-Over America.

[T]he urban real-estate market is a pitiless sorting machine. Rich people and up-and-comers buy the private housing stock in desirable cities and thereby bid up its cost. Guilluy notes that one real-estate agent on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris now sells “lofts” of three square meters, or about 30 square feet, for €50,000. The situation resembles that in London, where, according to Le Monde, the average monthly rent (£2,580) now exceeds the average monthly salary (£2,300).

The laid-off, the less educated, the mistrained—all must rebuild their lives in what Guilluy calls (in the title of his second book) La France périphérique. This is the key term in Guilluy’s sociological vocabulary, and much misunderstood in France, so it is worth clarifying: it is neither a synonym for the boondocks nor a measure of distance from the city center. (Most of France’s small cities, in fact, are in la France périphérique.) Rather, the term measures distance from the functioning parts of the global economy. France’s best-performing urban nodes have arguably never been richer or better-stocked with cultural and retail amenities. But too few such places exist to carry a national economy. When France’s was a national economy, its median workers were well compensated and well protected from illness, age, and other vicissitudes. In a knowledge economy, these workers have largely been exiled from the places where the economy still functions. They have been replaced by immigrants. …

Top executives (at 54 percent) are content with the current number of migrants in France. But only 38 percent of mid-level professionals, 27 percent of laborers, and 23 percent of clerical workers feel similarly. As for the migrants themselves (whose views are seldom taken into account in French immigration discussions), living in Paris instead of Boumako is a windfall even under the worst of circumstances. In certain respects, migrants actually have it better than natives, Guilluy stresses. He is not referring to affirmative action. Inhabitants of government-designated “sensitive urban zones” (ZUS) do receive special benefits these days. But since the French cherish equality of citizenship as a political ideal, racial preferences in hiring and education took much longer to be imposed than in other countries. They’ve been operational for little more than a decade. A more important advantage, as geographer Guilluy sees it, is that immigrants living in the urban slums, despite appearances, remain “in the arena.” They are near public transportation, schools, and a real job market that might have hundreds of thousands of vacancies. At a time when rural France is getting more sedentary, the ZUS are the places in France that enjoy the most residential mobility: it’s better in the banlieues.

In France, the Parti Socialiste, like the Democratic Party in the U.S. or Labour in Britain, has remade itself based on a recognition of this new demographic and political reality. François Hollande built his 2012 presidential victory on a strategy outlined in October 2011 by Bruno Jeanbart and the late Olivier Ferrand of the Socialist think tank Terra Nova. Largely because of cultural questions, the authors warned, the working class no longer voted for the Left. The consultants suggested a replacement coalition of ethnic minorities, people with advanced degrees (usually prospering in new-economy jobs), women, youths, and non-Catholics—a French version of the Obama bloc. It did not make up, in itself, an electoral majority, but it possessed sufficient cultural power to attract one.

It is only too easy to see why a populist and nationalist revolt against the elite urban community of fashion is an international development.

A must-read.

11 Feb 2017

The Intelligentsia Versus the Rest of America

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Mstislav Valerianovich Dobuzhinsky, Stavrogin and Verkhovensky on the Bridge

E.M. Oblomov, in City Journal, discusses the rise, and historical parallels, to America’s current treasonous intellectual clerisy.

The most devastating critique of the Russian intelligentsia was mounted by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in a 1974 essay called Educationdom (Obrazovanshchina). Solzhenitsyn traced the sources of the Bolshevik revolution and its cataclysmic aftermath to the vices of the old intelligentsia, which included “a sectarian, artificial distancing from the national life,” unsuitability for practical work, an obsession with egalitarian social justice that “paralyzes the love of and interest in truth,” and a “trance-like, inadequate sense of reality.” There were other, darker vices, too: “fanaticism, deaf to the voice of everyday life”; a hypnotic faith in its own ideology and intolerance for any other; and the adoption of “hatred as a passionate ethical impulse.” Worse still for Solzhenitsyn was the intelligentsia’s fervent rejection of Christianity, replaced by faith in scientific progress and a mankind-worshiping idolatry. This atheism was all-embracing and uncritical in its belief that science is competent to dispose of all religious questions, finally and comprehensively. In Solzhenitsyn’s view, the intelligentsia had yielded to the temptation of Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor—may the truth rot, if people are the happier for it. …

If only America could be Communist China for just one day, lamented New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. If only we could be ruled by an all-powerful junta of Harvard professors. Or by a plenary committee of nine eminent jurists.

Of course, mutual antipathy between intellectuals and democracy dates back at least to classical antiquity, when the Athenian assembly put Socrates on trial for corrupting the youth. The Athenian intelligentsia fought back. When Plato produced his blueprint for the ideal Republic, it looked much more like authoritarian Sparta than democratic Athens.

The United States was bound to be at odds with its intellectual class. Unlike Tsarist Russia, with its rigid system of castes and ranks, the United States was from the beginning an egalitarian republic, with no native intelligentsia. In the nineteenth century, Tocqueville found that, “there is no class . . . in America, in which the taste for intellectual pleasures is transmitted with hereditary fortune and leisure and by which the labors of the intellect are held in honor.” Tocqueville conceived of the intelligentsia in French terms and identified it with aristocracy. But Americans were doers, not navel-gazers. They lacked a “taste for intellectual pleasures” but possessed a huge appetite for acquiring practical knowledge.

For more than a century after Tocqueville, intellectuals remained at the margins of American society. American elites were industrial and financial, and the nation’s rude and boisterous culture reflected their tastes and preferences. But change was inevitable. New universities—notably Johns Hopkins and the University of Chicago—were being founded along Germanic lines. These were not social clubs for the scions of railroad barons and banking magnates, but factories of pure knowledge. Then, in the 1930s and 1940s, the intelligentsia received a huge boost from an infusion of large numbers of refugees from Nazi Europe, including Viennese philologists with a taste for Proust and Mahler. But it was only after World War II that the American intelligentsia really came into its own. Economic changes were making possible increasingly large returns on investment in university education. The GI Bill exposed ever-larger numbers of Americans to the world of professional intellectuals. And, with the establishment of the Educational Testing Service, the academic elite created a highly efficient engine for sorting Americans according to intellectual ability and channeling them, by means of the university admission system, into different social strata.

More than 70 years of this social sorting have given us a distinctive, insular, and powerful intellectual elite, shaped by the prejudices, anxieties, and affectations of the faculty lounge; separated from the rest by ever-greater social, economic, and cultural distance; and hardening into a self-perpetuating caste. This ruling intelligentsia—or “educationdom,” in Solzhenitsyn’s biting formulation—more and more resembles the ruling aristocracy of Tocqueville’s day:

    In an aristocratic people, among whom letters are cultivated, I suppose that intellectual occupations, as well as the affairs of government, are concentrated in a ruling class. The literary as well as the political career is almost entirely confined to this class, or to those nearest to it in rank. These premises suffice for a key to all the rest.

Read the whole thing.

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